Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.
Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
- Both photos show Derek Chauvin, who was charged with murder in the death of George Floyd.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was fired and charged with murder after he was recorded pressing his knee on George Floyd’s neck before Floyd died in custody. Now Facebook posts like this one are alleging that the man who is in jail on that murder charge isn’t the officer in the video,, using widely shared photos of Chauvin as evidence.
"Can someone clear something up for me?" the June 4 Facebook post says. "Who are these two men?"
The post shows two images: one is a mugshot of Chauvin, and the other is a still of him from the video. In each photo, Chauvin’s ear is circled.
"The one on the left the media tells us is the one who’s been arrested and is currently sitting in the Hennepin County jail," the post continues. "And of course as the world knows, the one on the right is the one who murdered George Floyd. After all he looked right into the camera multiple times for multiple minutes while he continued to exert ever increasing pressure on his neck. Help a brother out."
The claim is unfounded and amounts to another so-called "false flag" conspiracy theory that we see follow so many high-profile and often violent deaths that draw global news coverage. Since Floyd died on May 25, we’ve fact-checked false statements suggesting the 46-year-old’s death was staged and that the protests have been orchestrated by powerful hands.
In comments on this Facebook claim about Chauvin, users agree that these are different men in the photos. As evidence, they note differences in hairline, skull structure and ears. The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
But both men are Chauvin — the perspective is just different in each photo. In the mugshot, he is looking straight at the camera while in the video his chin is angled down and his head turned to the side.
This reporter experimented with her phone’s camera and found that her hairline, bone structure and ears appeared differently when imitating the angles of these photos.
A different mugshot of Chauvin, seen here in the June 3, 11:40 p.m. post down the page, shows him in two images — in profile and staring straight at the camera. The images help to highlight how Chauvin’s hairline and ears can look different depending on the camera angle.
The mugshot in the Facebook post is from the Ramsey County Jail, where Chauvin was held after first being taken into custody. He was later transferred to the Hennepin County Jail — which released another mugshot — and then moved to a corrections facility in Oak Park Heights, Minn., partially due to COVID-19 concerns, a local CBS affiliate reported. There are no credible reports about confusion over Chauvin’s identity or location.
Claims that the person in custody is someone else are unfounded and defy what we know from public records.
We rate this Facebook post False.
Facebook post, June 4, 2020
The Sun, ‘No Justice, no peace,’ June 4, 2020
CBS Minnesota, Ex-MPD officer Derek Chauvin moved to second detention facility in same day, due to COVID-19 concerns, May 31, 2020
AFP News Agency, Derek Chauvin mugshot released, June 1, 2020
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.